As much as I try, summer is coming to an end. Even though I absolutely LOVE the fall, summer is my second favorite. I love not wearing socks or coats or layering my clothes so I don’t freeze to death. I love the light lasting until almost 8 pm. I even love the heat most days minus the lung crushing humidity.
But more importantly, I love summer produce.
Yes, fall’s bounty is amazing and as soon as the air turns crips I will be waxing poetic about the abundance of squash and pumpkin and sweet potatoes. But there is just something so fresh and light about summer fruits and vegetables that I miss once the season has passed.
One of my favorite combos of summer is tomato and basil followed by watermelon and watermelon, but watermelon jam is not something I’m ready to take on just yet. Sure, you can find tomato and basil all year round but true summer tomatoes and basil are magical. It always astounds me how something as simple as a tomato, a leaf of basil, some balsamic and a little salt and pepper is so good. I wanted a way to keep that flavor long after summer is gone, so I started toying with jam.
Not jam in the sweet sense but savory jam like my Garlic & Onion Jam. Now don’t get me wrong, fresh bruschetta will always win in the flavor department, but this jam does capture that essence. And it’s really simple to make. I’ve frozen a few jars worth to see how it does in the long haul, but so far it lasts in the fridge for a few weeks and still tastes pretty good. Spread it on some of your favorite bread and you’ve got a great snack or appetizer. I’ve even tried it on roasted eggplant and sweet potato toast and it’s pretty tasty on those as well.
I know in the dead of winter a little smear of this jam will probably give me enough hope to make it until I can get fresh tomatoes and basil again. What is your favorite summer flavor combo?
- 8 oz fresh tomatoes, sliced (I used cherry tomatoes but grape, Roma, and Kuamto would all work)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Combine the water and tomato paste either in a blender or with an immersion blender. Make sure the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low. Add half the minced garlic and stir to coat in oil. Saute for a minute and then add half the fresh basil and all the dried oregano. Stir to combine and saute for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste and water mixture, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Bring to a low boil and then let it simmer until the liquid is thick and syrupy. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the fresh sliced tomatoes, the rest of the garlic, and the basil. Stir a few times and then cook for another five minutes. You can use an immersion blender or transfer the mixture to a regular blender and pulse a few times. You don’t want a totally smooth jam, but keep it a little chunky.
- Cook until most of the liquid has cooked out and you have a jam like consistency. Another 10 minutes or so. Transfer to a clean jar and let it cool completely before storing in the fridge. Note: You can also store it in the freezer BUT let the jam totally cool off before you store it in the freezer.